NC14 Bolt Driver

Discussion in 'Infiltrator' started by Frightning89, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Frightning89

    So I Auraxium'd the NC14 Bolt Driver today, my first weapon to aurax so far. Thought I'd give a short guide to it for those considering using it. It is the NC's default sniper rifle, and it is functionally identical to the TR's M77-B and the VS's XM98, their 325 Cert Bolt-Action sniper rifles, apart from visual appearance, including the way the scope pictures look. So for you TR and VS infiltrator players, what I have to say about the NC14 Bolt Driver generally also applies to your equivalent weapon.

    The NC14 Bolt Driver is a bolt-action sniper rifle with high-zoom optics and as such has sway and the hold-breath mechanic. This hints that it is meant to be used at long range, and indeed it performs best beyond the usual engagement ranges of most other weapon types. It can kill with a single headshot against all infantry targets, except heavies with overshield active out to 214m, (214m=max lethal range against a 1050 hp target). These numbers increase a bit as hp of target is lowered:

    Maximum 1 headshot kill range:
    1050hp: 214m
    1000hp: 246.38m
    950hp: 278.76m
    900hp: 311.14m

    Additionally, sniper rifles, including the NC14 Bolt Driver, when fired, cause you to show on the map to enemies within 100m of you, hence, without a Suppressor, it is preferable to be beyond 100m away from all enemies so as to minimize the chances of your sniping roost being identified and subsequently compromised. This means that the 'sweet spot' range for the NC14 Bolt Driver is the 100-200m bracket. In this range, you are both far enough away that the enemy will have difficulty locating you and even if they do, most of their weapons won't be very effective again you at those ranges; and yet you are still close enough to reliably kill with your first shot to a target provided you succeed in hitting them in the head. The weapon is usable outside of these ranges, but at closer ranges, enemies are much better able to retaliate and the high zoom of your optics can increasingly become a burden rather than an advantage. At longer ranges, you can no longer can get one hit kills against full health targets, and due to the lengthy rechamber time (1.225 seconds), the target will have plenty of time to react to being hit and run for cover (or begin moving erratically, making landing followup shots MUCH harder).


    The weapon comes by default with a 6x scope, and has available 7x, 8x, 10x, and 12x scopes. The default 6x and available 7x scopes have a larger, roughly rectangular scope picture, offering a comparatively larger view area for their zoom level. The 8x, 10x, and 12x scopes have a smaller, circular scope picture, but of course, feature higher zoom, and hence offering greater precision for long range work. Scope selection is ultimately a matter of user preference, but I highly recommend sticking with one scope as much as possible. This is because you will gradually get a feel for how far away enemies appear in the scope versus how long your shot will take to reach them, as well as how much drop the bullet will experience and hence how far above the target you will need to aim. These relationships change with scope zoom changes, hence using multiple scopes on the same weapon makes getting a feel for it much harder. To decide what scope you want to use, I recommend spending time in the VR room with each scope, getting a feel for the zoom and getting headshots at various ranges, especially those in the 100-200m bracket. I recommend using the Sweeper HUD implant since it also provides a range finder so you know exactly how far away the target you're looking at is when testing scopes. (It's also a good implant to run with the weapon in game if you have it, but it's not vital, especially once you get a good feel for the weapon and don't need a rangefinder to judge drop and travel time). I personally settled on using the 10x scope with the weapon, but they are all quite fine to use with it (indeed I spent time with each as I unlocked them and tried them out in actual combat).

    There is a suppressor available for the barrel, but I do not recommend it because you lose 40% of your muzzle velocity, with means bullet travel time and drop are significantly increased against targets at a given range. The main benefit is not showing on the map for enemies within 100m when you fire the weapon, and also the somewhat quieter firing sound. But imo these gains are at all worth the increased travel time and drop (and attendant increased difficulty of landing headshots/hitting them at all). As such, I quickly decided that it was best to simply not have a barrel attachment on the weapon at all.

    There are 3 attachments available for the Rail mount: A flashlight, a straight-pull bolt, and a forward grip. The flashlight provides illumination at close ranges (within about 20m), and also lights up cloaked enemy infiltrators you point it at. This effect is pretty much useless on a weapon intended for use at 100+m, as your effectiveness at 20m or less is probably lower than it would be with whatever sidearm you have, hence I wouldn't recommend it. The straight-pull bolt allows your to chamber a new round after firing without leaving the scope, which saves time between shots, and allows you to start looking for another target and even preemptively lining up the shot before the weapon has finished chambering a new round for you to fire. Thus the straight-pull bolt is basically a straight upgrade for the weapon and hence highly recommended. The last option is a forward grip, which, like the flashlight, basically useless. It reduces recoil, which is irrelevant in practice because the recoil does last nearly as long as the time it takes to chamber a new round in the weapon, hence in practice, the benefits of forward grip are wasted on the weapon, and the much more useful straight-pull bolt is a far better use of the Rail attachment slot.

    In summary:
    Scope: User preference (mine was 10x scope)
    Barrel: No attachment
    Rail: straight-pull bolt

    Usage tips:
    The NC14 Bolt Driver has a perfect 0 ADS CoF while not moving, but it is 0.2 when moving while crouched and 0.55 while moving and not crouched. As such, the weapon is only accurate if you aren't moving when you fire. The change in CoF happens almost instantly when you go from moving to stopped, or vice versa, hence you can move while lining up the shot and stop briefly just to fire (just be sure you don't fire to soon, or start moving again before you've actually fired the weapon). For personal safety and decreased detectability, it is generally best to look for targets and even line up shots while under your cloak, only decloaking briefly to fire before cloaking again. It is ideal to have cover which you can duck behind to replenish your cloak energy whenever it gets low (this is also a good time to reload and top off your magazine), this is good sniper infiltrator practice in general, and many other sniping tips for infiltrators are also applicable to using the NC14 Bolt Driver, such as: avoiding skylining yourself, and finding a spot that's difficult for the enemy to reach and ideally on their flank rather than simply behind the line of battle. Taking some time and effort to reach a good sniping spot can be richly rewarding, I've had quite a few 10+kill sprees because I found a good spot to snipe from during a battle.

    Loadout suggestions:
    Since the NC14 Bolt Driver is ineffective at short ranges, having a sidearm that is useful at a variety of shorter ranges is highly recommended, and it is especially handy if said sidearm can equip a suppressor and thereby preventing you from showing on the map to nearby enemies when you need to use it to eliminate a threat that has gotten close to you. I have been using the NC's default pistol, the NC4 Mag-Shot, with a Suppressor and 1x Reflex sight, and it has worked quite well for me. But there are plenty of good options that will complement the NC14 Bolt Driver's long range performance available.
    Both the Motion Spotter and Recon Detection Device have their merits for use with the NC14 Bolt Driver, the much longer duration of the Motion Spotter means it can provide advance warning of enemies attempting to reach your sniping roost for far longer than the Recon Detection Device can, but this comes at the price of the Motion Spotter being visible on the map and potentially tipping enemy off about where to look for you, this can be partially offset by placing it a distance away from you and somewhere that will expose the enemy to you if they try and eliminate your Motion Spotter (it can even be used as bait). The Recon Detection Device can be deployed anywhere over a large distance from where you are, unlike the Motion Spotter which you can only place right in front of you, hence you most reach the location where you want to put it (which might make it hard or even impossible to return to where you want snipe from), this combined with the fact that it's generally not as likely to make enemy suspect that you are nearby may make the Recon Detection Device the better choice (I used the Motion Spotter less and less as I got closer to auraxing the NC14 Bolt Driver despite having it in my loadout most of the time).
    Of the three cloaks available to the Infiltrator, only 2 allow you to take a primary weapon, hence the Stalker cloak is not an option for use with the NC14 Bolt Driver. This leaves the Nano-Armor Cloak and default Hunter Cloak as the only options. Both are usable with the NC14 Bolt Driver but in my opinion the Hunter Cloak is better, since the main use of the cloak when sniping is to avoid being spotted, rather than avoid being hunted down and killed, and in that endeavour, uptime, and duration are more valuable than the increased shield strength and damage reduction against non-headshots of the Nano-Armor Cloak.
    There are quite a few options available for the suit slot, but given the nature of how sniping typically plays out, most of them are of little value. The best ones in my opinion are Ammunition Belt and Adrenaline Pump. The former will allow you to stay in a good sniping spot for longer before having to abandon it due to running out of ammo (it's surprisingly easy to have that happen if you manage to find a good spot to snipe from, and it's really frustrating when it does). The latter is handy particularly if, like me, you prefer to do most of your travelling by foot rather than using Flashes or hitching rides on friendly vehicles to get around.
    I generally only occasionally use my grenade and haven't yet unlocked Decoy grenades, both Frag and EMP are of limited value to a sniping Infiltrator (you don't normally want to be close enough to the action to use them). The Decoy Grenade could potentially help you escape a sticky situation and would be my recommended choice. If you don't have that, the EMP Grenade is imo more useful than the Frag Grenade for a sniping Infiltrator.
    There are a few options here, the Anti-Personnel Explosives can situationally be useful to protect your sniping perch from un-wanted visitors, but most people that will go to the effort of trying to reach such a spot probably have the Sweeper HUD implant and are unlikely to be caught off guard by your mines (you might still get warning that they are coming if they have to destroy the mine to reach you safely). The Auxiliary Shield Generator is of limited value since you generally won't taking damage very often, though it may save your life from an otherwise lethal headshot by an enemy sniper. The remaining two options are both ways of healing yourself, the Restoration Kit provides more healing but spread over time, whereas the Medkit heals immediately. While the effect persists, the Restoration Kit causes you to have a very visible green glow, which can make it easy for the enemy to spot you. For this reason, Restoration Kits are a bad idea, and Medkits are the preferred choice. They are quite handy if you get tagged or otherwise hurt by not killed. You can decloak, use a Medkit, and then cloak again in a pretty short time span and get a full heal of your health.
    The new implants offer some pretty useful options to an Infiltrator using the NC14 Bolt Driver. The Ammo Printer is a great solution to the ammunition problem that can occur after a while when you find a good sniping roost. Regeneration can be a alternate way to recover health in the event that you become injured as it is easy for an Infiltrator to avoid taking damage long enough for it's health regeneration effect to become active. The rank 5, 50 health restored on headshot kill effect is especially well utilized by the NC14 Bolt Driver. Target Focus provides a significant increase to the hold breath timer which is quite handy when you're having trouble finding an opportunity to land a good shot on an erratically moving target. Safe Fall can allow you to potentially take the 'freefall express' as a means of making a hasty escape should your sniping spot get compromised. The Sweeper HUD provides a rangefinder which is quite helpful for judging distance to targets, especially for less experienced users of the NC14 Bolt Driver. Assimilate can allow to convert the many headshot kills you will likely get into an alternate way to restore your shield strength in the event that you take some damage.
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  2. Eternaloptimist

    It's a really good assessment and much of it applies to pretty much any long range sniper role, so good advice for anyone thinking of taking up this most reviled of professions.

    The only thing I didn't see you mention (and the one that I look for when hunting snipers or countersniping) is that people will see your tracer regardless of how far away you shoot from and whether you have a suppressor. Holding a single sniping position for any length of time is something to be avoided in my experience - unless you are sniping from a spawn room ofc :) .

    I agree that the Magshot is a solid default pistol. I upgraded to the two shot burst Desperado eventually (aka Bestperado) when I had the certs to spare. Also doubles as a very good stalker weapon.

    Do you have any views about the range at which you need to adjust for drop? I haven't got the distances in mind but I can say that I find it easier to quickly work out the required mil dot adjustment with a 6x sight for some reaon (something to do with how big the target looks through the scope as a way of judging distance I guess).
  3. Campagne

    Solid guide, but I do have just two things to mention.

    • If I can recall correctly, the -40% velocity penalty for a suppressor is actually unique to the NC's Railjack. As such, I do believe the standard penalty is actually only -30%, though this does not change the poor viability of suppressors.
    • The straight-pull bolt slightly increases re-chamber time, and therefore is not a direct upgrade.
  4. Zagareth

    This might be true, but w/o the SPB you have to put the gun down, rechamber and put it up to aim again. With SPB you just keep aiming... So what do you think is faster?
  5. Campagne

    Well technically it is faster to unscope and rechamber.
  6. doomedking517

    Not only this but from a practical perspective for new snipers, getting the straight pull bolt (or vanu equivalent) as soon as you can is ill advised in my view, at least until you have at least gotten into the habit of checking to see if your spot is compromised with a high degree of frequency (I go every shot in medium+ fights with the exception of follow up shots on someone you have hit - but then you best move anyway, cause they will know your location). Lack of local situational awareness (less than 30-40 meters) is one of the biggest killers of snipers.

    Newer snipers are prone to tunnel vision and not observing their local area for threats. Experienced snipers check even without the need to descope. Newer players being forced out of scope helps prevent tunnel vision in them because they at least get a glimpse of their local area when they quickly descope. A good spot can make you harder to find, but its not perfect, and its a good habit to check.
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